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Harry Longfield - a lost cause?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 17:40

Hi folks.

Would appreciate a bit of help please.

I am starting this thread as a last-ditch attempt to track this person down. I am 99% sure it isn't possible, but I know some of you can extract info from thin air - so here goes! Any ideas much appreciated, thank you.

Harry Longfield married my great-aunt Mary Kathleen Powell in Aston in 1916.

As far as we know he was from Leeds - this is what his family believe, and indeed he & Mary moved there at some point, and there they remained. None of his grandchildren recall him having any relatives. The best they can come up with is that his mother was a single Irish girl, or so they believe. They do not know when & where he died as the marriage eventually failed and Mary found a new partner, but did not re-marry until 1953.

I have never tracked him down on any census. There are one or two Harry Longfields around but none of them stand out as him.

His address on the cert is (a bit hard to read) 'Caleswell' Cottage, Green Road, Hall Green (now Bham, was Warwickshire).
He was working as a munitions worker, obviously related to WW1, so this is no help.
Witnesses were J. Ernest Jones and A.G. Wilkes.
He was 30 years old.
His father is a fantasy!!

I have checked B'ham electoral registers, but have never located the place he was living. Might be worth another go though (Jill might help me here, waving at her!). But I suspect he was just a lodger so not holding out much hope.

Just as an aside, the fantasy father was Alexander Longfield auctioneer. I did vaguely wonder if he based this somehow on a real person, as it isn't the most obvious name to pluck out of thin air.

Well, I did warn you ... !

Jan :-D


GlitterBaby Report 17 Nov 2012 17:53

I know you have been looking at Midlands Electoral but Hall Green is only featured in 1950 and 1955


brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 18:08

Thanks Glitterbaby. He is a real mystery - I know we Genes lot don't like to admit defeat, but in this case ... !

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 17 Nov 2012 18:10

??? There is an Alexander Longfield on the Irish 1911 Cork, and there is this that popped up as I was searching ???

Name: Alexander Longfield
Spouse Surname: Marion Powell
Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1920
Registration district: Leeds
Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
Volume Number: 9b
Page Number: 959
Find Spouse: Find Spouse


brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 18:27

That's very interesting Rose, thanks. A good idea re. Ireland, why didn't I do that.... !
I can't see Marion Powell being a relative - all Powells present and accounted for, and only Mary went to Leeds, under her married name. We do have a much later Marion Powell though, interestingly. But it's a very common name, unlike Alexander Longfield!
If all else fails I might be tempted by that cert.
Thanks very much for looking.
jan x


Choccy Report 17 Nov 2012 19:21

co-incidence that christian name is Alexander ?


National Archive Reference: RG14PN18692 RG78PN1115 RD392 SD1 ED54 SN332

Reg. District: Solihull
Sub District: Solihull
Parish: Yardley
Enum. District: 54

Address: Cateswell Cottage Green Lane Hall Green Near Birmingham
County: Warwickshire

BROWN, Alexander Head Married M 56 1855 Gardner General Essex Ilford
BROWN, Henretta Wife Married
29 years F 72 1839 Stepney London

no children born


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 19:59

Hi Jan.

Waving back at you. Do you know the state of things at the library with the move? Do you want to do it before or after Christmas?

Talk about coincidence. The kids and I were actually in Green Road this afternoon. It's a favourite place of ours because the River Cole runs across it at a ford. Dtr had to pick a river to do a project on in Yr6 and whilst she was in school, son and I sussed out loads of places of interest along the River Cole not too far from base. Then we took her with camera in hand to see them and the three of us followed the river through the Sheldon Country Park and on over to Babbs Mill. We still study the river together six years after she did her project; watching the changing seasons and how the weather affects it in various places.

In summer we meet up with friends, picnic in the field next to Sarehole Mill and then all the kids and parents walk along the Mill Race to the ford and watch the bigger vehicles and cars on the school run. When the weather is wet we go and watch 4x4's driving through it or the plonkers like today and other times we've sat and watched them who ignore the sign and kill their car. Great fun whichever event it is and only for the cost of a couple of miles of petrol. Obviously the ford splits the road and I'm not familiar with the other side of it so don't know what buildings are there. On our side, the houses are all Birmingham semis so to speak. Give me a couple of days and I'll suss out the other side of the road and let you know if any buildings look possible.

I was looking for a photograph I got off the internet in 2006 of the bridge and a bit of the further end of Green Lane which was taken in 1908 but I can't find it. Thought these might be interesting though.

Not far from Green Road is Cateswell Road which would perhaps be the real name of your cottage. Oh and I've just seen what Choccy has found for you so I guess two sources of info makes it a decent chance of being correct.

Are you on the Birmingham History Forum? I can't remember. If you aren't and want to create a message and I'll post it for you or say the word and I'll cut and paste from here.

Just off to do a drink and then I'll keep looking.



JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 20:17

Just a thought. If he was working at a munitions factory, could it be the BSA works on Golden Hillock/Armoury Road? Just chatting to R about this and we both agree that the 11 bus route (Inner and Outer Circle) has been going forever so may well have existed even then. Chances are he could easily live in Hall Green and make it to work at the BSA.

We are trying to work out how many munitions factories Birmingham might have had. So I Googled Gunnery Lane and this came up about the Birmingham Gun Quarter.

Maybe the records still exist for some places. The library might have something. What exists for BSA might not be enough as it was bombed in WW2.

And now I'm off to do my hot choc.



JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 20:25


brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 21:03

Just got back after food & shower (have to be presentable for you lot don't I) - and wow! Choccy, I think it's amazing you found this, thanks a million. On checking marriage cert, it must be Cateswell, but the cross on the 't' is invisible and I had never heard of it. Might stand a chance with later electoral register now, who knows?
It's so hard to say if this Alexander has any connection whatsoever. On the face of it, it seems unlikely, but as it isn't an overly common name I will be bearing it in mind.
I really appreciate you finding this.

And Jill - what can I say. Thanks so much for all the extra info. and your thoughts on this. Never mind co-incidence - one of your connections going on here I reckon!

I would love a pre-Xmas visit to Brum - will check it out for opening etc and get back to you.

So glad I posted this, what a brilliant lot you all are.

Jan :-D :-D


No wonder I couldn't find it 1911!!

1911 England Census about Alexander Brown
Name: Alexander Brown
Age in 1911: 56
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1855
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Ilford, Essex, England
Civil parish: Yardley
County/Island: Warwickshire
Country: England
Street Address: Cortesnell Cottage Green Lune Hall Green
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Gardner General
Registration district: Solihull
Registration District Number: 392
Sub-registration district: Solihull

Alexander Brown 56
Herrietta Brown 72


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 21:16

OMG what a transcription. I'm certain I would never have made that connection Jan. Well maybe the lane but not the cottage.

Not sure if you know that Yardley was once a massive parish. Yardley Wood, which is just down the road from the house you came and looked at, really was connected to Yardley which is all the way over Coventry Road way now. And I'm certain that Sarehole Mill was also part of the parish. The Mill is something like a hundred or so metres from Green Lane.

And the fact that it was all once a part of Solihull, Warwickshire makes it all the more complicated unless you know how the areas lie then and now. I only picked up about it when I was getting some background info about the area for this river project for dtr.


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 21:31

I've just taken a Google Earth drive up the other side of Green Lane. There's a real mish-mash of ages on the properties there. There is one cottage which definitely would have been standing at the time. I can't see a name on it though. Wonder if it would be worth coming at it from a Tolkein front. Possibly some maps on the go with a Tolkein enthusiast. He did base some of his geography around the area when he lived there.

Will keep playing.xx


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 22:00

Desperately trying to work out how the cottage got its name - some connection to the road perhaps? No Cateswell surnames to show up on here at all. Birmingham has always appeared to me to be particularly hot on how it named its roads. Wasn't there a Cateswell family famous in history or am I getting mixed up with a similar name because nothing shows on a Google? I wonder if I am thinking Robert Catesby (Gunpowder Plot). I was just trying to work out if the cottage remaining on Green Lane might be Cateswell. It doesn't help you to find him but it's a bit more on the tapestry - and you never know.

Still playing :-D


Choccy Report 17 Nov 2012 22:11

from the 1911 census, this family appear to live next door to the Browns according to the Enumerator's schedule


RG14PN18692 RG78PN1115 RD392 SD1 ED54 SN331
Reg. District: Solihull
Sub District: Solihull
Parish: Yardley
Enum. District: 54

Address: Greenbank Cott, Green Road, Hall Green, Near Birmingham
County: Warwickshire

BLISS, William Head Married M 60 1851 Mail Servant Bham Warwickshire
BLISS, Catherine Wife Married
35 years F 55 1856 Household Duteys Lemmington Warwickshire
HARE, John Boarder Widdower M 57 1854 Machine Paper Ruler County Cork Ireland
CHATER, Hugh Boarder Single M 15 1896 Railway Porter Fenny Compton Warks

perhaps another cottage to look out for to help decide where Cateswell Cottage was/is?


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 22:24

Was just looking at the census Choccy thinking the same thoughts as you. Wish I could work out if the images are accurate in preceeding or following Cateswell. Because apart from this cottage, some dwellings are just listed as being in Hall Green and then different roads and Greenbank doesn't even show up any more.

I need to dig out my book of Birmingham Roads from the late 40s. It's the one issued for postal workers to help them in locating roads. At least if I can work out where Greenbank was, I can see how close to Green Lane.

I must confess that it's really fun looking for something so close to home.


brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 22:38

Back again!

Jill, I think the idea re. BSA is a good one. It seemed when I was growing up like everyone had a relative who had worked there.
I wasn't fully aware re. Yardley, though after the difficulty I had with realising how large Kings Norton was it doesn't surprise me!
I am reasonably familiar with the area though. Firstly, I was born in Kings Heath as I think you know, and also lived in Acocks Green for a while. My grandfather (Mary's brother) and family lived in Coldbath Rd - the house is still there. And I have been to a couple of Tolkein weekends at Sarehole Mill
I can see you have got the bit between your teeth with this. I like a challenge too.

I have looked at the library info - oh no!!!

'After 23 November 2012 the Archive Search Room will be closed, with no further access to the archive collections until the new library opens.'

So unless we go next week it won't be happening until next September, as far as I can tell. Help.

Choccy, I have checked out Alexander & Henrietta. They are quite an interesting couple - the age discrepancy is correct. He is a widower in 1881, at the grand age of 26, and married to Henrietta by 1891. There is nothing to link him to Harry though as far as I can see.



brummiejan Report 17 Nov 2012 22:49

Just to add - this is their marriage. Just co-incidence with the name sadly!

London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 about Alexander Brown
Name: Alexander Brown (gardener, widower)
Age: Full Age
Spouse Name: Henrietta Rutland (widow)
Record Type: Marriage
Event Date: 9 Apr 1882
Parish: Poplar All Saints
Borough: Tower Hamlets
Father Name: James Brown
Spouse Father Name: Thomas Berry
Register Type: Parish Register



JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 22:54

Think this is the census that RR mentioned. He's the only one who shows up at all.

1911 Census Record
Personal Information
Name Alexander Longfield
Condition Single
Age 33
Estimated Year of Birth 1878
Employed N
Working at Home N
Place of Birth Cork Co Cork
Military Rank Private 2nd Batt Royal Munster Fusiliers
Enumerator Information
Address Jellalabad Barracks South Tedworth Hampshire
Parish South Tidworth
Inhabited Y
Reference RG14PN6336 RD112 SD2 ED10 SN9999
Administrative County Hampshire
Registration District Andover
Registration Sub District Amport
Enumeration District 10

Nothing has come up on a Google for Longfield Auctioneers. Seems a big leap from a Private in the Irish Fusiliers to auctioneer. Boosts your fantasy theory.


JustDinosaurJill Report 17 Nov 2012 23:06

Eeek. I can't do Wednesday and can't do late Thursday afternoons for sure but pick another day and I'll check with the family.

Didn't remember you were born in KH. And as for Kings Norton. That plain makes your brain hurt. If you didn't have the local knowledge for the layout of how that worked as far as records were concerned.......... Are other areas of the country just as difficult? :-S :-S

R and I looked at a house in Coldbath. I say 'looked'. We were after our first place together and had a pile of estate agents bumf. We drove around to get the idea of all the houses and places. The house in Coldbath was on the go for about £5,000. Mind it was pre-1986 house price explosion but even so it was too, too cheap; even in the poor condition suggested. So I sat and read through the blurb again and suddenly realised what was missing. There was no mention of a bathroom or toilet. It was enough; we didn't ask for a viewing :-0


Choccy Report 17 Nov 2012 23:08

found this family in Green Bank Cottage in 1851

as you know the area, the original census return might help in locating where it is


RG number: HO107
Piece: 2071
Folio: 87
Page: 28
Reg. District: Solihull
Sub District: Solihull
Parish: Yardley
Enum. District: 1F
Ecclesiastical District:
City/Municipal Borough:

Address: Green Bank Cottage, Yardley
County: Warwickshire

HOLDER, Howard A Head Married M 24 1827 Brass Founder & Lamp Manufacturer
HOLDER, Mary E Wife Married F 24 1827
HOLDER, Nora A A Daughter F 0 (9 MOS) 1851
Yardley, Worcestershire
KINNERSLEY, John Servant Widower M 70 1781 Ag Lab
ANDERTON, Charles Servant Unmarried M 20 1831 House Servant
Solihull, Warwickshire
PALL, Catherine Servant Unmarried F 18 1833 House Servant

doesn't help with finding Harry though!

I did wonder why Harry had not enlisted, as he was young enough to do so, I would have thought ?

Off to my bed now :-)